World AIDS Day: South Africa's HIV epidemic is among the most severe in the world. According to U.N. estimates, 12.2 percent of South Africa's population is HIV positive.
Cape Town, South Africa
As students and security forces clashed Oct. 10 in Johannesburg, a priest was struck in the mouth by a rubber bullet fired by police.
Human rights activist Kerry Kennedy spoke at the University of Cape Town during a program commemorating her father's Day of Affirmation speech 50 years ago.
Msgr. John Kozar, president of Catholic Near East Welfare Association was touched watching hungry schoolchildren in Ethiopia put away one of the two biscuits they received at a food program.
Zambians are shocked and ashamed of the xenophobic violence in the capital, Lusaka, in which mostly Rwandans' homes and shops were ransacked, a church official said.
South Africa's constitutional court ruled March 31 that President Jacob Zuma violated the constitution remodeling his home. A prominent south African Jesuit called for his resignation.
South African Benedict Daswa, who was bludgeoned to death 25 years ago for resisting witchcraft, now has the title of blessed.
The schoolteacher was beatified Sunday in ceremonies that drew about 30,000 people to the remote northern South Africa village of Tshitanini, near his home in Limpopo province.
Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes, said during the beatification Mass that Blessed Daswa "gave historic witness to the Gospel, even to the shedding of blood" and that "from now on will be called 'blessed.'"
Burials that are dignified and safe are urgently needed for Ebola victims in West Africa, where corpses are frequently left unattended for days and then thrown into graves without ceremony, a U.S. church aid official said.
"So many people are dying that there has not been the capacity to respond" to burial needs in an appropriate way and "we are now making this a priority," Michael Stulman, regional information officer for the U.S. bishops' Catholic Relief Services, said in a telephone interview from Freetown, Sierra Leone.
It is hard for people in Sierra Leone not to lose hope as the death toll rises and worldwide fear grows over the worst Ebola outbreak on record, said the head of Caritas in the archdiocese of Freetown, Sierra Leone.
"Our situation is desperate," said Fr. Peter Konteh, executive director of Caritas.
In a telephone interview Wednesday from Freetown, Konteh said the mood of the West African country was bleak following the death Tuesday of the doctor who had been leading the country's fight against the highly contagious disease.
The bishops of southern Africa said corruption is rampant in the region and called on all Catholics to take a pledge not to pay or offer bribes.
"If you experience corruption, report it," the bishops of South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland urged in a pastoral letter, noting that "bribery, collusion and all other forms of corruption thrive in conditions of secrecy and concealment, and they persist because we allow them to continue."